For a biopic of a real-life person, this feels like an oddly standard mob thriller. It's the true story of Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, and it's told with gritty filmmaking and robust performances. But there's very little about the movie that sets it apart, leaving it as yet another depiction of violent criminal ambition and betrayal. And by the end, it's difficult to escape the feeling that we've seen it all before.
It opens in 1975 South Boston, where Jimmy Bulger (Johnny Depp) runs the Irish mafia, while his brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a senator. Their childhood friend John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) is an FBI agent who has asked for their help in taking down the rival Angiulo family, which Jimmy sees as a win-win situation: he'll get rid of the competition while avoiding jail himself. Over the next 10 years, Jimmy expands his operation dramatically, and he's not afraid to get his own hands dirty as he sorts out problems that are created by his sidekicks (including Rory Cochrane, Jesse Plemons and W. Earl Brown), all of whom are increasingly annoyed at his control-freak ways. But as Jimmy becomes even more notorious, the FBI boss (Kevin Bacon) pressures John to take him down.
The actors dive into their roles. Depp transforms himself physically into a prowling thug with terrifyingly piercing eyes. He may be a heartless killer, but he's also a caring family man. Opposite him, Edgerton has a trickier role as a federal agent who operates more like the gangster he'd rather be, casually ignoring the law to push his own agenda. In the sprawling supporting cast, only a few characters emerge memorably: Cumberbatch has a sparky presence, Cochrane offers some thoughtfulness, and Bacon gets to chomp on the scenery. Other roles are much briefer, especially the sidelined female characters.
Continue reading: Black Mass Review
Whitey Bulger has had the FBI under his thumb for too long, and now people are starting to notice. How can a criminal mastermind responsible for every major offence in the city pass by seemingly unnoticed for an entire lifetime? It's true he landed in Alcatrez at a young age, but the older the more dangerous he becomes; a kingpin of the South Boston criminal underworld who escaped justice by informing authorities of all movements of the rival gang, the Italian Mafia, as suggested by his most useful contact and friend John Connolly. But the Irish Winter Hill Gang is growing ever more powerful, and Bulger's feelings of invincibility lead to more and more murders and destruction. It's time he was stopped, but finding him is not going to be easy.
Continue: Black Mass Trailer
Irish-American criminal mastermind Whitey Bulger was arguably one of the most dangerous men in America before his arrest in 2011 at the age of 81. He'd already spent time in Alcatrez as a much younger man, having spent a lot of time on the streets of South Boston. However, by the 70s he proved to be the FBI's best tool in controlling organised crime within the country, and he was eventually persuaded by his friend John Connolly to be their informant in all workings of the rival Italian Mafia. However, it's not safe business being both a highly respected gangster and a police informant, and while much of his activity is being largely ignored as he rises to become top of the Irish Winter Hill Gang, it seems he is gaining too many killings and dodgy dealings under his belt to go unnoticed.
Continue: Black Mass - Teaser Trailer
Sometimes, the greatest hiding place is in plain sight. For twelve years from the mid-1990s, he was the FBI's second most wanted fugitive, behind Osama Bin Laden. Throughout the 1970s, he was an FBI informant, revealing information to bring down an Italian American crime family, and he was the brother of a US senator. But really, his informant years were to stop another family from invading his own turf. Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp) was one of the most brutal and violent criminals in Boston, being the secret puppet master behind one of the most dangerous crime families in history.
Continue: Black Mass - First Look Trailer
The 'Black Mass' trailer has been released and Johnny Depp is absolutely terrifying as criminal, Whitey Bulger.
Johnny Depp is almost unrecognisable in the trailer for Black Mass. The 51-year actor plays the notorious American gangster, Whitey Bulger, in the upcoming film. The first official trailer was released on Thursday (23rd April). It shows Depp, with a receding hairline and incredibly piercing blue eyes, intimidating a colleague over dinner. Depp's intimidating voice becomes a voice over as other scenes from the movie, including Depp wielding a gun and dumping a dead body, cut in.
Johnny Depp and his wife, Amber Heard.
Continue reading: Johnny Depp Terrifies As Whitey Bulger In The Trailer For 'Black Mass'
While using every horror movie cliche in the book, this film cleverly tells a bracingly original story that will have genre fans squirming in their seats. It's rare that a movie can actually scare us anymore, and while this one is a bit over-serious, it playfully twists old tricks to confound expectations.
The story centres on a brother and sister: 21-year-old Tim (Brenton Thwaites) has just been collected by his big sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan) after spending 10 years in a psychiatric hospital. She tells him that they only have a few days to make good the promise they made a decade ago: to destroy a mirror that they believe caused the unexplained violent deaths of their parents (Katee Sackhoff and Rory Cochrane). Kaylie has everything ready, including cameras to capture the truth about this evil mirror and a fail-safe plan to destroy it before it can lure them into its murderous clutches.
The film inventively flickers back and forth in time between the present day and the fateful earlier events, when the parents and siblings (played as children by Annalise Basso and Garrett Ryan Ewald) have their own freaky encounter with this enormous gothic mirror. In both timelines, plants wither, pets go nuts and strange figures are glimpsed in the shadows. But the mirror's most dangerous trick is to fracture reality, and now past and present seem to be merging for Tom and Kaylie. Director-cowriter Mike Flanagan fluidly weaves together both timelines in eye-catching ways, continually shifting the emotional tone as well, just to keep us off balance.
Continue reading: Oculus Review
Benedict Cumberbatch has been cast in the role of Billy Bulger, the brother of notorious US gangster Whitey Bulger, in the upcoming biopic 'Black Mass'. He replaces Guy Pearce who was forced to drop out of the project due to scheduling issues.
Benedict Cumberbatch will star alongside Johnny Depp in an upcoming film biopic of notorious US gangster and murderer, Whitey Bulger. Guy Pearce had initially landed the role of Billy Bulger, the brother of crime lord Whitey. Unfortunately, as the producers told Variety, "We were not able to make it work with Guy." Hence, Cumberbatch is replacing Pearce who was forced to drop out of the movie due to scheduling issues.
Benedict Cumberbatch will star in Black Mass as Billy Bulger.
Continue reading: Benedict Cumberbatch To Star In Whitey Bulger Biopic 'Black Mass'
Tim Russell is a troubled psychiatric patient who has finally been released from hospital several years after the tragic death of his mother and father - an incident for which he was accused of being responsible. Still fragile, he reconnects with his sister Kaylie who has spent the last few years researching the history of a mysterious 300 year old mirror that both siblings are certain holds an evil sinister enough to have caused their parents' deaths - and most assuredly the deaths of countless previous owners. Their probing into the disturbing phenomena occurring in and around the looking glass proves to be traumatic enough, but when they start experiencing more and more dangerous unexplained happenings, it becomes clear that the vengeful spirit haunting it hasn't finished shedding blood just yet.
Continue: Oculus Trailer
When Abraham Zapruder, a women's clothing manufacturer from Texas, excitedly set up his camera to record the grand arrival of the much-loved President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy in Dallas on November 22nd 1963, he had no idea that he would in fact record one of the most shocking and most watched films in history when the President was fatally shot by a nearby gunman. He became one of a string of unlikely individuals to get involved in one of the world's most publicised assassination cases, along with all the doctors and nurses who were forced to overcome the shock when Kennedy was rushed to Parkland Hospital; the family of the alleged killer, US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald; and those FBI agents who could've prevented the incident when they had Oswald in their grasp.
'Parkland' is a new historical drama about one of the most famous assassinations in history which is set for release ahead of the event's 50th anniversary. It has been directed and written by Peter Landesman who is controversially best known for his New York Times article on sex slavery 'The Girls Next Door' which he later turned into a film called 'Trades' and which was publicly accused of being at least partly fictitious. 'Parkland' is set to be released in the UK on November 8th 2013.
When the Iranian Revolution protests began to take place in 1979, their main target was the US embassy in Tehran. It didn't take long for an army of militant Islamic extremists to infiltrate the building and seize 52 American citizens as hostages with only six victims managing to escape and take refuge inside the Canadian ambassador's home. It is decided that the six escapees must be found and smuggled out of Tehran before they are killed. Tony Mendez is a CIA officer specialising in covert government operations who is enlisted by the government to conceive a plan of exfiltration. His plan involves him and his team travelling to Iran under the guise of a film crew preparing to shoot a pretend movie called 'Argo'. However, as is expected, not everyone is confident in this less than risk free operation.
'Argo' is loosely based on a true story depicted in the real Tony Mendez' account of the events that took place during the hostage crisis as well as an article written in Wired in 2007 called 'How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran' by Joshuah Bearman. It has been directed and starred in by Ben Affleck ('Good Will Hunting', 'Pearl Harbor') and written by Chris Terrio ('Heights') and will be released in US theaters on October 12th 2012.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishe, Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina, Zeljko Ivanek & Titus Welliver.
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This article is dedicated to Caroline Flack.
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